It’s taken a year longer than expected, but the Rugby League World Cup is finally here. And while the Kangaroos are heavy favourites, there is value throughout.

Rugby League World Cup Winner

Australia are heavy favourites to win the 2021 Rugby League World Cup at $1.53. While there is plenty of talent spread across this tournament – the most we’ve ever seen – it’s Australia’s depth that is the difference. Where most teams can’t afford to lose too many players to injury, particularly in key playmaking positions, the Kangaroos can fill any position with an elite replacement. They’re beatable on the day, but the best prepared to go all the way.

On the same side of the draw, New Zealand are at $4.33. This is one of the best Kiwis teams ever assembled. Their 1-13 rivals Australia’s. In the pack, you can argue that the Kiwis are superior. If this squad can remain healthy and meet the Kangaroos in the semi-finals, there is a good chance the winner of that one wins the next and lifts the trophy. There is no reason that can’t be the Kiwis.

Somewhat surprisingly, Toa Samoa is on the third line of betting at $10. This is a very good Samoan team on paper. However, that’s all we’ve really seen from them. They’re inexperienced as a group and don’t play with the firepower of Mate Ma’a Tonga. While Jason Taumalolo is out to start the Rugby League World Cup, he will be back early enough to consider their $12 to win it. As usual, the Tongan spine is the concern. Their pack is good enough to beat anybody on the day, though.

The hosts, England, round out the genuine contenders at $13. There is some quality in this team but they’re missing a handful of key contributors. Like everybody else, they’ve not been able to play a lot of football together recently either. In a tournament where cohesion is at a premium and victory is likely to be decided by individual talent, England just doesn’t have enough to put them up with Australia and New Zealand. Still, they have four or five games to build into the semi-finals where they are capable of an upset in front of a home crowd.

The Rest: Fiji ($201), Papua New Guinea ($301), Cook Islands, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Lebanon, Scotland, and Wales (all $501).

Tip: Winner – New Zealand @ $4.33

Top Tryscorer

Josh Addo-Carr couldn’t crack the New South Wales Blues side but is the Rugby League World Cup favourite to finish as the top tryscorer at $5. Given his experience at this level and in playing with many of those in this Kangaroos squad, his absence from rep football in 2022 shouldn’t impact his form in the Green and Gold. Murray Taulagi is at the opposite end of the experience spectrum but should see plenty of time on the field to be a threat at $6.

Ronaldo Mulitalo is one of the best wingers in the world at the moment. With the teams the Kiwis will face in the pool stages and standing out on the left wing where we can expect to see a lot of traffic, his $8.50 appeals. Jordan Rapana at $10, on the other hand, will require him to play almost every game. The Kiwis look likely to lean left and assuming Rapana lines up on the right wing, his biggest impact on the team will come in yardage.

Toa Samoa are expected to do great things in this Rugby League World Cup and Brian To’o will be at the forefront. Slotting in on the end of the Panthers-heavy left edge, To’o at $13 is worth investigating. As one of their best players, expect him to play in every match.

New Zealand’s Joseph Manu stands out at $21. He’s the first-choice Kiwis fullback and we’ve seen how he can involve himself. Manu spent the NRL season floating around the field and put in a monster effort for the Kiwis in the mid-season Test. He’s going to be on the end of a few dangerous shifts and if the defence manages to close them down, you know Manu will be sniffing around for a barge-over try from dummy half. The Kiwis have a lot of points in them. Expect Manu to be a big contributor.

Top 10 Top Try Scorers

Josh Addo-Carr$5
Murray Tuilagi$6
Ronaldo Mulitalo$8.50
Jordan Rapana$10
Sione Katoa$11
Valentine Holmes$11
Daniel Tupou$13
Tommy Makinson$13
Brian To’o$13
Dom Young$13

Tip: Top Tryscorer – Joseph Manu @ $21

Finals Footy

While Australia and Josh Addo-Carr are significant favourites in the major markets, there is value scattered throughout.

With the Kangaroos and Kiwis on the same side of the draw, Mate Ma’a Tonga has a great opportunity to at least make the Rugby League World Cup final at $2.88. England isn’t particularly impressive on paper and this feels like the tournament Tonga has been building for since 2017.

Papua New Guinea is an x-factor side that nobody really wants to play. They’re brutal and while they’re unlikely to upset any of the big teams, they’ll scare at least one. They’ll back themselves to score a few points against the likes of Wales and the Cook Islands, too. Given his form at NRL level and general ability to find the line, Alex Johnston to be the Kumuls’ top try scorer at $4 is an excellent option.

Tip: Kumuls Top Tryscorer – Alex Johnston @ $4